Astral Media, the folks who decided to bring Virgin Radio branding (and programming) to stations including Montreal’s CJFM 95.9, has decided to do something similar with their French-language Énergie network, dumping that brand in favour of France-based NRJ Radio.
The press release (also on their website) reassures listeners about keeping local hosts and promoting local talent, but also talks about new programming that would come from this international network that operates in more than a dozen countries around the world.
There are just so many hours in the broadcast day, so expect some of the non-vedettes at Énergie (CKMF and what’s left of regional stations) to lose their jobs as Astral finds more efficiencies bringing in cheap, syndicated foreign content instead of paying locals to act as DJs.
The changeover is scheduled for August 24.
UPDATE: More from Les Affaires.
Why is Ian Greenberg doing all this? I like him and have lots of respect for him. But now… :-S
As a perfectly bilingual Franco, I can tell you this: There is a big difference about the two situation.
First off, Virgin Radio, even with a bunch of syndicated programs, will not sound different. The English accent is pretty much the same, therefore not much of a difference, and the audience will be more inclined to follow (at least, if they don’t, it will be only because it’s not original content).
If NRJ decided to start airing shows from the France stations, people will not only change channel because it’s not local content, but also because they won’t be able to stand the accent.
I don’t think the guys at NRJ are that dumb. They’ll probably simulcast a concert or award show here and there, but that’s pretty much it! French-speaking listeners are much more touchy than they English-speaking counterparts!